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Preparing for a collapse in the US mask supply

According to US government and industry pandemic experts, America’s mask supply is likely to be diverted by foreign health officials during a global emergency. Is your organization prepared?

Ninety percent of America’s hospital masks have been manufactured in other countries since 2005. Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services fear that in a severe pandemic these countries will stop exporting masks to America. We know that countries will put their people’s health first during a global emergency, such as when Australia stopped shipping flu vaccines to the United States during the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009.

American factories, hospitals, dental offices, and doctor’s offices can improve the security of their mask supplies by buying American-made masks. Organizations that remain dependent on foreign-made masks may one day find themselves unable to protect their employees or patients.

Halyard's mask packaging says "Product of USA, further processed in Mexico." Some of their raw materials may come from the US, but their finished masks are made in Mexico.

Finding out where masks are made isn’t as easy as it should be.

Most imported mask packages say “Manufactured for XYZ Company” or “Distributed by XYZ Company” but do not list a country of origin. Manufacturers must comply with the Federal Trade Commission's Made in USA Policy to make a claim to American-made products. If the box doesn't say "Made in USA" or "American-made," it is imported.

The domestic mask making industry will have enough capacity to supply only the customers that it has when an emergency begins, therefore, it is prudent to begin using American-made masks before the next outbreak or emergency. As more domestic masks are purchased during good times, there will be more manufacturing capacity in the bad times.

The cost of changing to domestically-made masks is nominal, but the liability of closing an organization or having its employees unprotected is not.

Learn more from government and pandemic experts here.

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